WWF criticism of bottom trawling in the Baltic Sea

Today (MONDAY 28), a ministerial conference on the Baltic Sea’s environmental issues is held at the invitation of the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Virginius Sinkevicius from Lithuania. He has invited ministers and, among others, fisheries authorities from the Baltic Sea countries to discuss how to jointly solve environmental problems with, among other things, eutrophication, overfishing and pollution.

At the same time, the World Wide Fund for Nature presents a report criticizing bottom trawling in the protected areas of the Baltic Sea. Inger Näslund is spokesperson for fisheries issues at WWF Sweden:

– The Swedish government has submitted a proposal for a bottom trawl ban in protected areas, which we welcome. But it is the Swedish government, and we must look at the Baltic Sea as a whole. In addition, it is a proposal so far, says Inger Näslund.

In October, next year’s fishing quotas for the Baltic Sea will be negotiated in the EU. ICES, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, proposes a continued halt to cod fishing east of Bornholm and that just over 4,600 tonnes of cod can be fished west of Bornholm, which is more than this year.

But bottom trawling for flatfish in the Baltic Sea is still allowed. According to Inger Näslund, the environmental impact from trawls towed over the seabed is great:

– When it comes to bottom trawling, it is not only the fish you affect, but you also affect the bottom environment, the environments that fish and other living animals need that live on the bottom, says Inger Näslund.

She emphasizes that it is about protecting biodiversity, and ecosystems as a whole:

– There we have seen that bottom trawling in the southern Baltic Sea, it has an extremely large effect and it is very large areas that you trawl bottom trawling, says Inger Näslund, WWF Sweden.